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Russell to replace Hamilton for Sakhir GP

NEWS STORY
02/12/2020

Mercedes has announced that George Russell will race for the team at this weekend's Sakhir GP, replacing Lewis Hamilton who is unable to compete.

Russell has been released by the German manufacturer's partner team Williams and be becomes just the fifth driver to race for the Mercedes F1 team since 2010, and the third Briton to represent Mercedes-Benz in F1 after Sir Stirling Moss and Lewis Hamilton.

Russell has been a member of the Mercedes-Benz Junior Programme since 2017, when he won the GP3 Series championship as a rookie, before repeating the feat in Formula 2 in 2018. He has been a fully-fledged F1 driver with Williams Racing since 2019, demonstrating impressive qualifying and race performances during the past two seasons.

"First and foremost, I wish to thank our loyal partners at Williams for their collaboration and open-mindedness in making it possible for George to race for Mercedes this weekend," said Toto Wolff. "The conversations with the team at Williams were positive and pragmatic, and those were the key factors in reaching an agreement.

"It will not be a straightforward task for George to make the transition from the Williams to the W11," he admitted, "but he is race-ready and has detailed understanding of the 2020 tyres and how they perform on this generation of cars. George has shown impressive form this year with Williams, playing an instrumental role in their climb up the grid, and I am optimistic that he will deliver a strong performance alongside Valtteri, who will be a demanding reference for him.

"This race will mark a small milestone for us, as we see a member of our Junior programme compete for the works Mercedes team for the first time. We have a job to do this weekend, and the full focus of our sporting efforts will be behind Valtteri and George in order to maximise our points score as a team. But, of course, our thoughts are also with Lewis, and we will be supporting him as much as we can to make a rapid recovery during his period of self-isolation."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by equator180, 03/12/2020 1:05

"There seems to be a consensus here for the likeable and talented Russel to do well as he has worked hard for the opportunity and I too am in this group, but....what would be the result if he did out qualify Botas or if he won the race? This could be very problematic for the team, Botas would be devastated and Lewis's ego knocked down a notch as well as his GOAT label. The bottom line is the little knob to limit the power and the result is totally in Toto's hands knowing if he could win or not. I do wish George all the best and it would be great to see the result all are cheering for but the King maker is in control and he and only he will have control of the result no matter the ability of Mr. Russel and he is thinking well past all the well wishers here for the sake of HIS team."

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2. Posted by C5, 02/12/2020 22:22

"Great decision. Performing in such a different car out of the box won't be easy, but knowing already now will hopefully allow him to get at least some basic acclimatization with the team and the car.

And as I understand the quarantine rules, Lewis will miss the Abu Dhabi race too, which will give Russel a much better chance to really show if he matches up to the hype (I think he does).

@Pawsche, yep. My sentiment exactly.. :-)"

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3. Posted by flyinglap, 02/12/2020 20:56

"There will be some ruffled feathers shortly; pole position, fastest lap and race win for George Russell. Consequently, extra leverage for Toto Wolf, with Lewis Hamilton regretting not having already signed his contract for next year due to the inevitable pay cut. As for Valtteri Bottas, this will be an even tougher test, psychologically, than going against the "usual" Lewis. Depending on the solidity of his own contract he might be risking going back to Williams already in 2021. Looking very forward to this next race. Luckily, we only need to wait only one more day."

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4. Posted by Greg, 02/12/2020 16:24

"Great opportunity. Be real funny if he beat Bottas. Prepare for 2021...."

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5. Posted by Wokingchap, 02/12/2020 15:09

"Great news, George really deserves it and best of luck to him."

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6. Posted by habentsen, 02/12/2020 13:01

"I think Mercedes missed a perfect opportunity to create the Finnish F1 championship by not hiring Kimi ;)

"

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7. Posted by Pawsche, 02/12/2020 12:25

"A fantastic opportunity, and well -deserved...

Just one slight bit of advice... "Don't f*ck-up"!! :-)"

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8. Posted by Kkiirmki, 02/12/2020 12:17

"Excellent news. Really interested in seeing how he goes against Bottas, and how he would compare against Hamilton. Could we see Russell's first points in F1 come from a win? "

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9. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 02/12/2020 9:10

"Go George go."

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10. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 02/12/2020 9:06

"Can we read more into this for 2021?"

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